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Public Works

Emergency Operations

Public works employee repelling down side of buildlingPublic Works has long been a leader in Emergency Management activities in Nashville. Anything from snow and ice wreaking havoc on city streets, to the devastation brought about by a tornado can bring Public Works into action. But the changes in our country brought about by the terrorist attacks on 9/11 increased the role and demands of Metro Public Works in order to deal with the potential of a terrorist threat in addition to natural disasters. And with this new realization comes increased responsibility. President George W. Bush formally recognized this responsibility when he issued Presidential Directive HSPD-8 in 2003, which declared Public Works Employees as “First Responders.”

Hazardous Materials Emergency Responder logoPersonnel from Public Works currently serve as Emergency Services Coordinators for the Office of Emergency Management (OEM); are a part of the Metro Crisis Action Team; play a lead role in the Metro Urban Search and Rescue Team Policy Group; and participate in the Homeland Security Response, Planning, and Education Teams. In addition, working with others in the same field, Metro Public Works personnel serve on the American Public Works Association Emergency Management Committee.

As part of Nashville’s overall Emergency Management Plan and operating under the National Incident Management System (NIMS), Public Works is the primary agency responsible for the city’s Infrastructure and Transportation in the event of disaster, whether natural or man-made. Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Truck with sign "Exit Closed"Conduct damage assessments
  • Perform restoration of roadways and bridges
  • Provide traffic control devices, street closures and detours
  • Oversight of traffic management
  • Give support and assistance in building demolition activities
  • Assist in containment and support Hazardous Material Operations
  • Perform logistical assistance for emergency operations
  • Management of debris removal

In addition to these primary functions, Metro Public Works provides the following support functions to other departments and agencies

  • Operations Concepts
  • Firefighting
  • USAR Task Force patchInformation and Planning
  • Resource Support
  • Search and Rescue
  • Environmental Response
  • Law Enforcement
  • Donations and Volunteer Activities
  • Animal Housing and Care

Specific Programs developed by Public Works to address these responsibilities include:

  • Public Works Response statistics thumbnail imageHazardous Materials Team
  • Roadway Incident Response Units
  • Snow and Ice Removal
  • Traffic Operations and Response
  • Urban Search and Rescue Team
  • Debris Management
  • Homeland Security Protection, Training, and Response Team

Public Works Roadway Incident Response Unit TruckPublic Works is committed to serving the citizens of Nashville and Davidson County in the event of an emergency. We are equally committed to ensuring that our employees receive the training and resources needed so they can respond appropriately. By planning and preparing for the unforeseen, Public Works will be there when needed. Working hand in hand with other departments, agencies and private industry, we will recover from emergency events yet to come.